Promises

August 4, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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I was one of those frail, sickly children for the vast majority of my early years. I was constantly being shuffled from physician to physician with one ailment or another; asthma, perpetual tonsillitis, severe allergies to everything. You name it I dealt with it at one point or another growing up. This meant that I spent a great deal of my formative years at home, in bed, miserably sick and more than a bit morose. There was an upside to this however, my father would often take time out of work to sit in my bedroom and read to me.

Some of my fondest memories as a child involved my father sitting in a chair next to my bed with one science fiction novel or another spread across his lap. I can’t count how many days were spent in such a fashion. I look back on it now and can’t help but smile when I picture that large man with his bushy beard, reading those thick novels to take my mind away from whatever was ailing me at the time. I was fortunate to come from a very loving home. My mother and father were extremely doting and focused all of their collective time and energy on raising their only son. I was particularly close to my father. We’ve all heard the old adage about Daddy’s girls and Momma’s boys, but that simply wasn’t the case in my experience.

Of course, every boy views his father as some larger than life, lantern jawed superhero, and I was no exception. My father was an enormous man, maybe six foot two and well over 250 pounds. He was an intimidating figure, and my childhood friends would often remark on just how large he was. He had very intense grayish blue eyes, brown hair that was slowly receding, and a thick red beard. But as intimidating as he may have appeared his demeanor, especially towards me, was always so calm and relaxed. He never once raised his voice within earshot, nor did I ever witness him use that great bulk of his to bully or intimidate. He was a kind soul, and spent all of his time letting his only son know just how much he was loved. He’d spend hours of his evenings after work in my room, sitting on the floor playing with my toys. I can’t help but chuckle when I picture that large man sitting cross legged on the floor with whatever superhero or mutant turtle I was interested in at that point. He even kept a small journal of all the funny little things I’d say and do, with some of his own musings remarking on just how quickly I was growing. I recall years later, when I was a man myself, reading that journal and being moved to tears by how deeply this man loved me.

Now my father was not a particularly religious man, in fact, if I had to peg his beliefs I’d say he was atheistic now that I have a grasp of such things. This was in direct conflict with how he was raised. He’d grown up in a very small town in North Carolina and was brought up in a very strict southern Baptist family. He remarked in the journal, just days after my birth, about how he found the Bible to be even more preposterous now that he had a child of his own. In particular the story of Isaac and Abraham did not sit well with my father. He couldn’t imagine any scenario in which he’d be willing to sacrifice his only son to some voice in his head. He was a very straightforward “logic and reason” type of guy. In addition to religion he absolutely abhorred superstitions and myths he made several comments about being leery of anyone that claimed to believe in aliens or ghost stories. Now he never made these statements to me directly he wanted me to come to my own conclusions regarding religion, superstition and the paranormal. But he did jot down all of these thoughts in that journal of his with the intention of giving me this book when I became a man myself. Unfortunately he never did get that opportunity.

As you can imagine, his death had a devastating impact on the course of my life. I remember vividly my mother coming into my room with tears and makeup streaming down her face. She cradled me in her arms and for the longest time simply rocked back and forth while sobbing silently to herself. Eventually she pulled herself together enough to tell me that my father’s small pickup truck had been struck on his drive home from work. The other vehicle involved was a semi, being driven by a man with too little sleep and too much alcohol in his system. He didn’t even know that he’d been involved in an accident until the officer responding to the crash pulled him from the wreckage of his own vehicle.

I was in shock, I was beyond consoling and honestly, I was furious. I was only five or six when my father passed, and in my mind all I could focus on was the fact that my dad had broken his promise. He would say to me, as he tucked me in at night, that I was his favorite thing in the world and he would always be there to make certain I was safe. It was repeated so often, night after night, that it almost became a mantra of his. But he made that promise and now he wouldn’t be around to keep it.

After my father’s death my mother was unable to afford the small three bedroom home nestled in the foothills of the mountains that I’d grown up in. We were forced to move to an older, run down part of town and needless to say it was just another factor contributing to the overwhelming sense of loss I was dealing with at the time. I hated the town, I hated the new school that I was required to attend when my health permitted, but most of all I hated our new home and the empty feeling it seemed to exude without my father’s presence. He’d never lived in that house, those walls had never heard that big guttural laugh of his, or sat idly by as he read to me during one of my many tilts with sickness. The house was a source of anxiety for me in those days. It was old, built sometime in the 1920’s my mother had told me. It was ancient, it was cold and everything about it seemed to be in a constant state of disrepair. The white paint was chipping in numerous spots on the exterior; the hardwood floors were warped and pockmarked throughout, even the grass outside remained a dismal brown year round.

The house only had two small bedrooms, a bathroom, a tiny dated kitchen and a musty little living room that seemed to be an afterthought in the builder’s original designs. I loathed that house; the floors creaked as everything settled at night, the windows were so old and grimy that they permitted very little light. My room was situated in the very back of the home and was so small that I had just enough room for my twin bed and a little dresser.

We’d been in the house for about six weeks when I started noticing some odd things happening, especially at night. I would come home from school to find that my bed, which had been made that morning, was in complete disarray. The clothes in my closet would sometimes be strewn across my room, much to my mother’s disapproval, and other small things like doors and windows seemingly opening and closing of their own volition. But the first truly unnerving occurrence that I can recall was just after my mom had tucked me in one night. I was staring at the ceiling, trying to decide if the water stain above my bed resembled a dog or something a bit more equestrian. I was beginning to nod off, catching myself closing my eye lids for a bit longer than was required to blink. My thoughts were slowly spiraling towards something that were closer to dreams when I heard a small scratching sound coming from the foot of my bed. At that time my bed was nestled in the corner of the room parallel to the doorway on one side and opposite my small closet that was a few feet from the foot board of the bed. I dismissed the sound as one of the many unexplained noises the house emitted at night and began drifting once more when I heard the noise again. This time it was louder and unmistakable as scratching, it was with a bit more purpose it seemed. I held my breath, closed my eyes, and focused all of my attention on deciphering that sound.

This time when it happened it was definitely louder and seemed to have a rhythm to it that just couldn’t be naturally occurring. It was almost like Morse code, like the scratching was meant to convey some kind of message. I got the feeling that it wasn’t trying to say “Ship in distress” or anything as mundane or typical as that. I can’t explain why, but the sound began to make me very uneasy as though it were malevolent in nature. The hair on the back of my neck began to rise without prompting and I found myself pulling the cover closer and closer to my chin. It would stop sporadically and then begin again with more fervor each time and always that same rhythm, scratch, scratch, scratch followed by a short pause and then scratch, scratch. I was frozen, completely fixated on this noise, but unable to call out to my mother whose bedroom was on the other side of the wall.

My mouth was dry and I was constantly moving my tongue around, swallowing to force something resembling moisture back into my mouth. Suddenly the scratching stopped, mid-sequence this time, and was replaced by the rattling of the closet doors. The closet was that old accordion style sliding type, with the wooden slats. I was amazed that the sound hadn’t prompted my mother to come in and see why I was out of bed. The rattling became more insistent, violent even, and that’s when I rediscovered the ability to scream. I yelled at the capacity my little lungs would permit until my room was flooded with light and I could make out my mother’s silhouette in the doorway.

“What’s wrong honey, what is it?” concern evident in my mother’s sleepy voice. I sat up in bed never taking my eyes off of the closet doors. “There’s someone in there mommy, in…in the closet”. She blinked a few times to clear the remaining fuzziness that sleep offers from her eyes and walked over to the closet. She flung the doors apart with a horrid screeching sound, and when it was clear that no boogeyman was immediately apparent, began shuffling the clothes hanging from the rod to show me there was no occupant. “See sweetheart, there’s no one in here it was just a bad dream”.

She closed the doors again crossed the hardwood floor and arranged herself at the foot of my bed. “It’s no surprise that you’re having nightmares son, considering…considering all that’s happened recently.” She patted my leg, and then reached up to smooth my disheveled hair. “I promise you, there’s no one in there”, she said. I was finally able to peel my attention away from the closet and meet her eyes, “I know there was” I said “there were some weird scratching noises and then the doors started to shake.” She stifled a yawn behind her fist and then patted my cheek as she rose from the edge of my bed. “Just a dream son, there’s no one in there, and there’s no one in the house but us.” “Now please, try to get some sleep, you have to go to school tomorrow and you don’t want to be nodding off in class.” She crossed the room and told me she loved me before she turned my bedroom light back off. I heard her mattress springs sigh as she got back into her bed and I laid down again myself.

I maneuvered myself as close to the wall and headboard as I could manage, pulled the cover up to my nose, and shut my eyes with such force that they squeezed tears down my cheeks. I tried to control my breathing and focus everything my sense of hearing had to offer for that sound. My heart was pounding so loudly in my ears that I barely heard the first scratch when the noise came again. I stopped breathing all together and waited for the next series of scratches to begin again. The minutes dragged by but the sound did not come again and at some point I fell into a rather fitful stage of sleep that was accompanied by nightmares.

Over the coming weeks the sound would come and go. There didn’t seem to be any pattern to it at all. There would be several nights in a row with absolutely nothing unusual occurring and then there would come a night when the scratching would start up as soon as I began to drift off and last until I screamed for my mother. This became something of a pattern, I wouldn’t say I became accustomed to it, but I knew that on those nights when the scratching started that all I had to do was yell for my mom and after she came in to take a look around I’d finally be able to sleep.
It had been three or four nights since the last time I’d heard the rhythmic scratching. I’d managed to fall asleep that night without event, maybe I’d been lulled into some false sense of security as it’d been several nights since the last “closet incident”. It was about 1 or so in the morning when I awoke with a start. I had fallen asleep on top of my covers and as soon as I became aware of being conscious I wrestled with trying to crawl underneath them. After much effort, I was finally able to get underneath the comfort and security of my sheets when I began to wonder what exactly had stirred me from the throngs of sleep. It was a cloudy night, so the limited amount of light permitted through my bedroom window was at an absolute minimum that night. I controlled my breathing, listening for that ominous sound and forced my eyes to scan the bedroom. And that’s when I saw it. Standing at the foot of my bed, in front of my slowly deteriorating closet doors was a very large form. It was so dark that I couldn’t make out whether this thing, this being, was facing my direction or not.

I couldn’t move, I couldn’t scream, I could barely even draw breath. All of my attention was on that form at the foot of my bed, I couldn’t look away, it’s as if my eye lids were taped open and I was forced that look in that direction. The form never moved, never even shifted from foot to foot. It simply stood there, massive and dark and seeming to fill the whole room. There was no scratching sound, no rattling of the closet doors, just this form standing stoically in the middle of my room. Amazingly I fell asleep. I can’t begin to imagine how that came to be. I just know that one minute I’m fixated with every fiber of my being on this figure in my room, and the next minute I’m opening my eyes to sunlight trickling in through my window and birds chirping outside as they went about their daily activities. What’s even more amazing is that I didn’t awake with that sense of terror that I’d grown accustomed to after a run in with the scratching sound, I even felt rested for the first time in months. This same thing happened again several times over the next couple of nights. I found myself waking in the middle of the night only to be confronted by the image of that large silent form at the foot of my bed. Again there was no scratching sound or rattling closet doors, just this figure standing there a few feet away. I never worked up the courage to yell for my mother or try to get a closer look at this shadow like form. I still wasn’t even certain if it was facing in my direction on the nights this occurred. I even began to wonder if perhaps this thing standing in my room at night had simply tired of causing a ruckus in my closet and accepted my presence in the house.

The next few weeks went by without anything of note occurring. I ate breakfast, went to school, came home and then went to bed. My health had hit a relative high point during that period of time and I was attending school on a regular basis for the first time in memory. At some point I even befriended one of the boys a few houses down and spent my evenings playing video games and the like at his house. I went to bed absolutely exhausted each night and woke the next morning well rested and looking forward to what the day might hold. I began to discount those terrifying events that had occurred in my room in the weeks prior as nothing more than my imagination.

My mother had taken on more hours at the furniture factory where she worked to help pay off some of the debt that accrued after my father’s death. On the nights she worked late I was to spend my evenings over at my new friend Ryan’s house until she returned home. I didn’t like to see my mother so tired from all of the extra work she was putting in, but I did enjoy getting to hang out with my friend and his rather expansive collection of video games (a luxury my mother simply couldn’t provide for me at the time). This routine of staying with Ryan’s family until my mother got off of work lasted for several weeks until my mother had an accident at work. She broke several bones in her right hand and wrist and was unable to work at all for the next few months, let alone pick up extra hours. She was obviously dismayed because just as it seemed our lives had begun to take on the normalcy that everyone expects, some unforeseen event once again caused that pattern to veer off course. She received some pretty heavy duty pain medication along with the cast on her arm and retired to bed early the night of her accident. I was permitted to watch television after I’d completed my homework, and then I went to bed myself after my favorite cartoons went off,

I’d been in bed for about half an hour, listening to the unusual sounds of my mother’s snoring from the next room when I thought I heard that all too familiar scratching sound from my closet. Initially I tried to ignore it, going so far as to covering my head with my pillow and forcing myself to sleep. After a few minutes I realized that this wasn’t working, the scratching sound never abated and only seemed to increase in tempo as the minutes passed. I was more angry than frightened at this point. It had been many weeks since the last time I’d had to deal with this and I’d begun to hope that it had stopped altogether.

After a few more minutes I finally came to the decision that I would open the closet door myself and finally put my mind at ease. It had to be a rat or something, there had to be some explanation and I was determined to find out. I pushed the cover towards the foot of my bed and began moving my feet towards the floor. As soon as my bare feet made contact with the cold hardwood the scratching sound ceased all together and was replaced with the violent shaking of the closet door. I let out an involuntary yelp as it had been a long time since I’d heard that sound, and I’d never seen it be so violent. The closet doors were rattling around with such force that I was afraid they would tear loose from their hinges. I lifted my feet back into bed and worked up the courage to begin yelling for my mother. “Mom…Mom please come here” I yelled with as much volume as I could muster. No response, not even the slightest break in her snoring, she was out cold. I yelled again and again, but to no avail. The moment I began yelling the shaking of the closet doors had ceased, as they usually do in this situation.

But my yelling wasn’t followed by the sound of my mother’s footsteps this time, and the doors began shaking once again. I didn’t know what to do, I was far too scared to get up and make a mad dash for my mother’s room, but my fearful screams seemed to have no effect. I began to sob, I’d reached a breaking point and I couldn’t help but pull my knees up to my chest and whimper. Suddenly the doors quit their frantic dance, they just stopped shaking altogether. I managed to lift my face from the protection of my knees and to my horror I saw the closet doors begin to slide apart. No more scratching, no more rattling, I was finally going to come face to face with my tormentor.

The doors finally opened all the way and I could see now that my clothes and the darkness within were shifting. I could just make out a hand part the clothes on the rack and felt bile rise in my stomach as I realized the skin on that hand was absolutely putrid. Gray and mottled and I now became aware of the most horrific stench I’d ever encountered. I wanted to spring from my bed and through my window, or pull the cover over my head and will this nightmare away. But I was completely transfixed, rooted in place, I couldn’t budge a muscle. I could now make out a torso in the space that my clothes once occupied it was covered in that same rotting flesh as the hand of course. Next, and most terrifying, I could make out two pools of absolute darkness that constituted the eyes on this nightmare. They were sunk down deep into the sockets of its face and were completely void of any emotion that I could discern. Just two black pits of emptiness. The creature had finally emerged from behind my shirts and jackets hanging from my closet rack.

It paused for a moment at the entrance to the closet, and seemed to size up the room. It was tall and impossibly skinny, almost to the point of being emaciated. The fingers and toes ended in long black ragged nails, nails that were almost talon like. Bits and pieces of flesh were missing over various parts of the creature’s body. I could clearly make out what appeared to be ribs in its torso, and the yellowing bone of one elbow. It had a few tufts of jet black hair protruding from its grotesque and bulbous head. Its mouth was wide and filled with small rows of teeth that came to points so sharp they looked like they’d been filed. Its nose was two little slits with absolutely no protrusion that I could discern.
It just stood in the doorway of my closet, smiling at me with those little sharp teeth and that unnaturally wide mouth. It stared at me as if it was trying to convey that it had all the time in the world and intended to drag out whatever horror was about to visit me. Suddenly the creature jerked its head to the side and seemed to sniff the air with that horrible little nose. The sniffing became more frantic and the creature kept jerking its head from side to side as if it’d caught a scent it wasn’t fond of and was trying to ascertain exactly where this odor was originating. That’s when I noticed movement from my peripheral, I was able to tear my eyes away from this monstrosity long enough to look to the corner of my room where I’d seen the sudden movement. And there, standing just feet away from me was that large dark ominous form.

It seemed even more massive than it had in previous encounters, and it also seemed to be radiating an intense anger. To my amazement this anger did not seem to be directed towards me, but at the creature now standing in front of my closet. The creature let out a hiss and then a sound akin to a whimper and took a step back when it noticed the large form standing in the corner of the room. I looked back at this dark figure standing so very close now, and for the first time I could make out distinguishing features. I realized that before this form had stood with its back to me on those nights it had appeared in my room, because now I could clearly make out a face, a face that was covered in course red hair. I could now see that this figure was a very large man with pale white skin and a receding hair line. But the most noticeable feature were the intense grayish blue eyes that I could make out even in the darkness of my room. Those eyes left the monster in my closet for just a moment and made contact with my own. This great big man standing in the center of my room, this great big man that I thought I would never see again, he smiled and then winked at me.

And with a burst of movement that my eyes could barely track he dove into the beast, driving it back into the depths of my closet, while the doors closed on them both. I sat on the edge of my bed, with tears in my eyes, and my mind racing to process what it had just witnessed. I finally broke my stupor long enough to race to my mother’s room and wake her. After a few moments of frantic shaking on my part, she finally swam to the surface of consciousness. When my face came into focus she immediately sat up out of bed and took me in her arms. “What is it sweetheart, what’s going on?” At this point I had begun to sob uncontrollably as she rocked me back and forth in her arms. I pulled myself together long enough to say “He kept his promise…he said he would always be there for me and he meant it”. My mother tried to get me to explain, but I just continued to cry into her shoulder as she rocked me back and forth. At some point I managed to fall asleep with my mother whispering words of comfort until I drifted off.

I never did hear another odd sound from my closet after that night, or any other part of the house for that matter. From that point forward things returned to normal and I felt as though a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders, I’d received some form of closure from the events that took place that night. I also knew that no matter what obstacles I might face in the years ahead, I would always have someone looking over my shoulder, ever ready to fulfill a promise made to a small sickly child.

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Bog of Whispers

August 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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My first twelve years of school had finally come to an end. Senior year, with its numerous college, federal financial aid, and scholarship forms was over, and there was a universal sigh of relief among my class as graduation neared. The time had finally come where I didn’t need to give a shit about school anymore, and in response to this, my friend William and I began to make plans for a weekend long canoe trip up on the Allagash river in northern Maine. We were avid canoers and fly-fishermen, spending last summer fishing up in the mountainous Rangeley Lakes Region. William and I had been planning this trip for quite some time, and with the phenomenal weather forecast this weekend, we had a perfect window of opportunity.

Directly after school that Friday, I drove over to Will’s house, having already packed up my things, and picked him up. He had overpacked, as usual, bringing two large backpacks. One of these was dedicated to food and socks, socks being especially important to William. He had once forgotten extra socks on a Boy Scout camping trip, and ended up wearing the same pair for three days. “You can never bring too many socks,” he always told me, being one of the many mantras he had adopted throughout the years. Will was funny in that sense, and I admired him for it.

We left Bangor around three o’clock in the afternoon, and made our way up the long stretch of Interstate 95. In Maine, there’s a point on this highway where all civilization seems to disappear in a flash. Between the cities of Bangor and Houlton (where we were headed), there’s basically nothing but land owned by paper companies. Locals call this area of the state the “North Woods,”and that’s exactly what it is. Miles of practically untouched wilderness, an idea that had always intrigued William and I. In these long stretches of forest, you could find numerous natural gems, hidden from the eyes of the world. I always thought that some of these places might be better off undiscovered, kept secret in the forest forever.

After exiting I-95, we navigated through Houlton and eastwards into the bumpy backroads of Aroostook County. It was around six o’clock at night now, and the sun was beginning to set in the pink sky. Will had since fallen asleep, his head jostling around as we drove through the poorly maintained dirt roads. Our campsite wasn’t too far away, and we would spend the night here before making our way to the Allagash tomorrow morning.

We reached the campsite at seven o’clock exactly. It wasn’t one of those big public campsites that you see full of tents and campers, but a simple, one acre lot containing a fire pit with brown, wooden benches, and an old lean-to in need of major repairs. Overall, the site was very remote, and the only things you could hear were the peeping frogs, and the sound of wind hitting the branches of trees. Will and I hopped out of the truck, set our things inside the lean-to, and hung our bear bag in a nearby tree. Clouds were coming into the sky, and the sun was now barely glowing through them.

“Dude, check this out,” Will said, having strayed off to the perimeter of the campsite. He had been exploring with his flashlight as I got our fire started.

“What is it?” I asked.

“I think it’s a trail or something,” he replied, pointing to what appeared to be a narrow, seemingly forgotten stretch of trail that extended into the forest. An old sign with the paint chipping off of it was sitting in front of the trailhead. I crouched down to see if I could read the sign, and Will pointed the flashlight towards it. I could barely make out the words “Hayno Bog” as I slowly deciphered the carved letters.

Curious, Will and I made our way down the thin trail, pushing through the brush. The ground soon became saturated with water, and I could barely make out the extensive meadow of sedges through the trees and darkness. The evening wind seemed to be swaying them back and forth, a motion that I found almost hypnotic. “Look at that,” I said to Will, noticing the sheer size of the bog. It seemed to extend far into the distance on all sides, creating a sort of aquatic prairie.

The trail ended at what appeared to be an old, rotting dock. It jutted out into a small pond, which paved through the center of the bog, getting narrower as it went deeper into the wetland. Will shined his flashlight around the area, trying to get some kind of perspective over the landscape.

“I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this before,” he told me,”It’s huge.”

“I know, “I replied, staring out into the distance. I felt oddly drawn to this area. Something about it had struck me. The way the sedges moved with the wind, and how the black, calm waters sat stagnant in the dark created an interesting feeling inside of me. I didn’t know if it was curiosity, fear, or even a sense of inner peace, but it felt as if the landscape was drawing me into itself. I squinted my eyes, trying to take in every detail of my surroundings. As I turned my head, I noticed something odd in the distant sedges. Something was rustling around, and for a split second, I saw what appeared to be a black figure rise up from the grass. Immediately, I blinked, and the hazy figure disappeared. I attributed this only to the darkness playing tricks on me, not thinking much of it.

“Hey, Eric, are you alright?” Will asked, noticing that I was staring off into space.

“Yes, yes I’m fine,” I replied, waking up from my daze, brushing off the illusion I had just seen.

“You wanna take the canoe out on this? The water’s pretty calm, and I’d like to explore a little bit.”

I hesitated at first, the image of the dark figure briefly resurfacing in my mind, but I again dismissed it. “Sure,” I replied, a sense of excitement overtaking what had originally been more comparable to dread.

* * *

It was around eight o’clock at night when Will and I set off into the stagnant, black waters of the bog. We had attached the flashlight to the bow of the canoe with a lashing, and it illuminated a good chunk of the landscape as we began rowing. I was sitting on the stern end of the craft, steering, while William sat on the bow end, leading the way through the darkening landscape. For a wetland, it was oddly silent as we moved deeper into the open, narrowing pond. The peeping frogs we had heard before now remained quiet, and the slight wind silently brushed over the sedges. The only audible sounds were our paddles breaching the surface of the water. An odd, uneasy feeling began to surge through my body, sending a shiver through my spine, but at the same time, I couldn’t help but admire my eerie surroundings. William seemed unaffected, occasionally running his hand through the water.

Not much longer after we set off, we approached what at first appeared to be a wall of sedges. After getting closer with the flashlight, we soon realized that the pond separated into two, narrow paths, one to the left, and one to the right. “Which one do you want to take?” I asked Will.

“Are you sure we should go on?” he replied, having taken on a more cautious approach to our excursion. “I mean, it’s getting pretty dark, and we left everything alone in the campsite. I want to make sure the bear bag hasn’t been raided by anything.”

I took note of William’s concerns, but conflicting feelings in my mind began to surface once more. An unexplainable urge to keep going took hold, and I responded to my friend in a calm and collected fashion. “The campsite’s fine, Will. I made sure the bear bag was hung the right way, and everything else is still locked in the car. And I just put new batteries in the flashlight, so there’s no need to worry about anything.”

He nodded considering what I had to say. “Alright, let’s take the left,” he responded after a bit of hesitation. His originally explorative nature seemed to be faltering somewhat, but not to the point where I was concerned. As he began to paddle again, I looked back in the direction we came. A dense fog was swallowing the landscape, obscuring my vision. I said nothing to my friend, even sensing myself smile at the mist, not understanding why.

We continued paddling into the left passage, bumping into the wall of sedges as we entered. Our canoe had difficulty navigating through the constant twists and turns, the starboard and port ends constantly bumping into the grass and mud. William would constantly stop paddling and look around, my silence unnerving him even more. I hadn’t spoken ever since we stopped to decide which way to go. The fog was beginning to overtake us, and Will had taken notice.

“Eric,” he said, turning around towards me, “Eric, we need to turn around, okay? I can’t see anything, and it’s going to be difficult getting back. Come on, let’s go back. You take the bow end and I’ll take the stern.”

I looked at him silently, the urge to move on now flaring in my body. It was as if the surreal bog landscape was getting to my head, to a point where my actions were becoming uncontrollable. Frustration took hold of my mind. “Will, we’re fine, alright?” I said, trying to keep my agitation to a minimum. “Let’s just keep going, okay?”

An angered look took over his face. “Are you fucking kidding me right now?! Eric, we can’t see five feet in front of us, and we’ve been moving through this goddamn channel for over forty minutes now! We’re going back, now!”

I stared at him, a crooked smile forming over my face. He didn’t understand. “We’re fine, Will,” I said, almost casually.

“What the hell is wrong with you?!” he yelled, the echo resounding over the bog. “You’ve haven’t said a word for the entire time we’ve been out here! And why are you smiling?!” He looked somewhat concerned about me, but my concern for him had been decreasing as we progressed through the bog. My only goal now was to press deeper into the foggy wetland. “Eric, let’s go back, okay? We need to get some rest for tomorrow.”

“No,” I replied almost immediately, my calm detached tone still present. I continued to stare at him in his frustration. I felt myself superior to Will in some unexplainable way.

“For Christ’s sake, Eric, we need to-”

“No!” I screamed in a voice very alien from my own. My casual tone had now turned into a deep, almost demonic roar. Will looked absolutely horrified. His body had completely frozen, his eyes and mouth wide open.

“Eric, what… what’s going on?” he asked, his voice trembling. “What… what was that?”

Anger took over me like an ancient instinct, and I forcefully made my way to the front of the canoe, almost tipping it in the process. William grabbed on to the side of the canoe, leaning backwards as I got right into his face. “We will keeping going,” I said to him in an agitated, raspy whisper, “and you will not get in my way. Got it?”

“What’s happening to you?” William asked, almost in tears as fear took over. “We’re canoeing the Allagash tomorrow, Eric. That’s why we’re here, remember?”

I instantly slapped William right across the face, his childish stalling getting in the way of my goals. I could feel the wind blowing faster through the ominous fog, the sedges silently bending back and forth. My rage was growing, and it was dismissing my past friendship with William. He didn’t understand, yet, at the same time, I didn’t understand either. The surreal movements of the bog made it seem as though it were one living, breathing organism. It was enticing me further into its own mind, through its own meandering, confusing channels of thought.

Angered, William lunged at me, violently rocking the canoe back and forth. He tried tackling me, but as a result, the craft tipped over upside down, forcing Will and I into the murky, dark waters. It was much deeper than I had originally thought, the turbid water going over my head. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion, the swamping of the canoe, my own body being submerged under water. I remained under there for what seemed like minutes, far longer than I could hold my breath. I opened my eyes, looking into the bog’s pitch black inner body. The surface and the bottom were invisible, and it felt like I was being suspended in a state of nothingness.

Suddenly, the underwater ambience began to reassemble itself. Gradually, the sounds of moving water became almost silent whispers. They gradually grew louder and louder, and I began to understand their messages. “Let me in,” they cried in chaotic intervals. “Embrace me. Let me in. Let me in.” Distraught, uncanny wails soon arose from the depths. At first, they seemed inhuman, but as they got louder, they appeared to resemble the desperate cries of an infant and an adult female meshed together. These sounds pierced my mind, and I could feel my thoughts begin to tear apart, my mind beginning to split into a thousand pieces. I was oddly intrigued by this experience, rather than fearful. The subterranean landscape was showing me sights I had never seen before, its disturbed, surreal mind inserting itself into my own. Images began to flood my head, millions passing through by the minute Cold, dead hands sticking out of the meadow of sedges, a child’s deceased body decaying at the bottom of the bog, a deer struggling to make its way out of a muddy demise, those were some of the images I witnessed. The landscape was revealing its twisted worship of death and decay to me, a new knowledge that I accepted without question. “We will become one,” it whispered to me. “One in death.”

A burning pain surged through my lungs, and I quickly made for the surface, emerging right next to the overturned canoe. The fog was now dense, and I could only see about five feet in front of me. To make matters worse, our flashlight had been swallowed by the bog, my only light being what little moonlight shone through the mist. I was still driven to keep moving through the bog, however. I needed to reach my unconscious destination.

Abruptly, I heard thrashing in the water, which was followed by the sounds of heavy breathing and bloodcurdling screams. They belonged to William, and I simply watched as he struggled to grab onto the surrounding sedges, completely disregarding the canoe.

“Stop it! Stop it, please!” he yelled. “What do you want from me?! What do you want from me!?” Will fearfully scurried onto the meadow of sedges, his body soaked and shaking, his head darting in all directions. He ran away into the fog, struggling to make it through the layers of mud. “What’s going on!?” I heard him scream from a distance. And then he was gone, leaving me with the bog’s silence. My sympathy for William had been declining ever since we set off into the bog, its influence growing stronger and stronger in my mind. I was driven to let the landscape lead me further within itself, and my friend was clearly resisting the drive’s affect on his own thoughts.

I swam over to the canoe and tipped it back up. A single oar was floating under the craft, and I threw it in before struggling to get myself in. It took me awhile, but I eventually got into the back, and paddled myself onward through the foggy, narrow channel. Without any light, I had to use the sedges as a guide through the constant twists and turns. The bog was now much more than a natural landscape.

Eventually, the channel opened up. The sedges started to disappear behind the ominous fog, and I was soon surrounded by open water on all sides. This gave off the illusion of an ocean, and my new surroundings were incomprehensible to me. The sensations going through my body were completely alien, and I started to panic somewhat. I didn’t know which way was left, right, forward, or backwards. It felt like the bog was stealing my spatial awareness, giving it the creative freedom to alter itself. The only thing I could do now was paddle on, and let the bog carry me through its mind. There was no going back.

In the distance, I made out what looked to be a small, worn down wooden dock jutting off a plain of sedges. The large pond seemed to end here. I attributed this to the bog’s illusions at first, but on closer inspection, the landing was in fact real. I paddled up to it, noticing the decaying, brown wood. A worn out, metal spoke stuck out of the top, and a tattered strand of rope was tied to it. I tied the canoe to the dock, and stepped onto the decrepit structure. It was surprisingly sturdy, although it made a horrific creaking noise that echoed throughout the the wetland. I looked back towards the opaque, unending water, noticing how it remained calm, mirroring nothing but blackness. Suddenly, feelings of insecurity surged through my mind. I felt like I was being watched through the silence.

Fearful, I made for the sedges, sinking in the almost knee deep mud. The terrain was difficult to navigate through, and a crescendo of paranoia grew inside me. My original mesmerization with the landscape was now turning to dread as I became stuck in the muddy meadow. “Help,” I yelled, “Help!” A harsh wind began to howl, and I could feel the sedges rub against my body. I darted my head around, trying to find some way out, but there was only fog. Something, however, caught my eye. To my left, the grass had been indented, making a gap in the meadow. There was something in the gap, and I stared at it for a moment. Strangely, my fear began to recede, and I made my way over to the indent, wrestling through the mud. The thing I had seen from a distance was now coming into view. What I saw initially shocked me, however, these feelings soon turned to a grotesque acceptance, even celebration. It was William, lying face up, the sedges gently caressing his dead, mutilated body. Massive cuts had been etched onto his arms and chest, and his throat had been slit on both sides, creating a triangular shape. Blood was streaming out of his wide open mouth, a look of absolute terror on his face. He would become one with the bog soon enough, in his death and decay. William would finally understand the logic that he denied in his fear, and his body would become part of the landscape’s mesmerizing illusions.

I turned around and looked out across the vast pond I had paddled through. The fog had lifted moderately, and I could see where I’d entered through the channel. The shape of the bog’s mind was revealing itself to me, and my drive was more powerful than ever. My body began to shake and tremble, and the sound of ominous whispers started to seize my being once more. “Come to me. Let me in. Come to me…”

Slowly, my head turned towards the left side of the pond. The whispers began to grow in volume, becoming more demanding by the minute. “Let me in. Let me in! Let me in!” The wind began blowing faster and faster, blustering the sedges completely sideways, the black water now forming violent waves. Frantic feminine cries echoed through what was left of the fog. The bog’s mind was becoming more visible to me by the minute, its disturbed psyche again penetrating itself into my own. Complete chaos began to ensue, the winds becoming heavy gusts, and the cries and voices becoming deafening. Yet I still stood next to William’s body, immersing myself in these elements.

In the midst of all of this, my eyes started to focus on something in the distant sedges. I could barely make out a familiar black, shadow-like figure slowly rise from the grass. It stood there in the chaos, staring straight at me. In the darkness, I saw its arm rise, and its hand begin to beckon. All sensation, feeling, and thought in my body came to a turbulent halt as I watched the shadow call to me. The time had finally come. Everything was coming into place.

I slowly stepped through the distraught, desperate screams of the bog’s unconscious, moving towards the rippling water. My union with the bog’s mind was imminent. I kept my eyes focused on the shadow, its being appearing and disappearing from my eyesight. I could feel the water embrace my ankles as I made my way into the muddy, sinister depths. I kept going deeper and deeper, letting the bog welcome my disassembled consciousness into the sentience of the landscape. I soon was up to my neck, and finally, my head went beneath the surface. The water began to drag me further under, its aquatic hands bringing my body down to the muddy, decaying bottom. My lungs were now on fire, and I knew that death was imminent. I felt my back hit the bottom, sinking into the layers of mud. My arms brushed against something, something eerily familiar. I observed my underwater surroundings, seconds from death….

The last thing I felt were the cold bodies against my own…

Credit To – Bryce Neal

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The Nightcrawler

August 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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I remember it being a very typical day. So typical and dull that the details of what happened previous to the “incident” completely slip my mind.

It was at around 2:30am – 3:00am and I was walking home. The sun wasn’t up yet and the stars were blocked out by the heavy grey clouds swirling above me in the sky.

I recall walking down the street, the damp asphalt beneath my feet. The air was wet, humid and had a metallic taste to it. I could smell a storm coming on. Then, sure enough it started to rain. The lampost lights were dim. I couldn’t see very well in the dark so I decided I would take the subway to get home and to avoid getting completely soaked down to the bone.

As I walked that early morning I saw no one. The occasional car passed by every 5 minutes or so, but other than that it was lifeless. Who would be out in such weather at such a time anyway? No one but me, the foolish young woman that so happened to pick a night job, of course.

As I went down the stairway to the underground metro station that was the nearest, I noticed it was deserted. I felt out of place and slightly disturbed in a way.

The long white tiled hall that led to the main underground area was empty. Nothing but echoes and a certain humming to accompany my footsteps could be heard. I paid for a ticket at the booth and went through the machine to go sit on an empty bench near the tracks. I waited patiently in silence.

There were no trains there. Worst of all, there were absolutely no other people there besides myself. Never had I felt so alone in my entire life.

The neon lights on the walls flickered in the big empty space. I could see small insects flying and bumping into them multiple times ignorantly. I crossed my ankles and bit my lip staring up at the many pipes sticking out of the ceiling above. I waited for one of the trains to come by. Any of them. Any at all. But none ever did. It had been so long that I’d lost count of the minutes.

After a while, something caught my eye. A small blinking red light at the other end of the station. I got up and walked over to it narrowing my glare, attempting to find out what it indicated.

After getting a bit closer I noticed it stated that this station was closed due to repairs. I thought “Why not lock the entrances then? Would’ve saved me a lot of wasted time” But that’s when I remembered that there were no doors to lock. The area was open to the public at all times. Also, the machines worked so it didn’t seem to be closed. Anyone could’ve just come in and make the same mistake I’d made. But, I didn’t see anyone else so I felt a bit embarrassed.

I sighed and told myself that walking in the rain would have to do, turning on my heels and heading for the exit once again.

As I was leaving, I heard a sudden booming sound before seeing nothing but darkness. The shock of the moment got to me and I jumped up a bit clutching at my chest with one hand. I was startled and confused as to what was going on. I widened my eyes and noticed the lights had been turned off.

Could there have been an automatic switch that flipped off at a certain pre-set time? In any case, this wasn’t very practical. Not one bit. I took a deep breath, knowing I would have to find a way out somehow.

It’s just one of those challenges life faces you with to see if you can manage. You just have to get out of it. It’s like a test in a way.

I called out “Hello?” once or twice, but was left without an answer. So, I finally decided to get a move on and head out of there. But, there were tracks nearby and I didn’t want to fall in by mistake wandering around blindly in the dark.

I thought about this for a little while before deciding to get on all fours and feel where I was with my hands so I wouldn’t fall or bump into anything. I started crawling around the dusty ground. I searched for a wall, desperate to try and reach a light switch of some sort.

In that one moment that felt like an eternity, I litterally felt like I was nowhere. Like I wasn’t even part of the world I knew anymore. It was all so surreal. The feeling wasn’t quite “right”.

I couldn’t see of course, so I focused on listening to what was around me to get an idea on where I was. There was a constant dripping, myself breathing quite loudly in panic, metal pipes creaking and the blinking red light in the distance. Those were the things I noticed the most.

I wanted to be back in my warmly lit apartment, telling myself that I had made it and everything was “okay”. But sadly, you have to get through the problematic situation before that. Imagining being out of there made things even worse in a sense. Because, I really didn’t even really feel like I would ever get out of there. I felt trapped and lost in an unknown place.

My hands intensively scanned the floor, practically sweeping it clean. My fingers then felt a hard wall in front of me. I couldn’t help but exhale quietly in relief. I spread my arms widely on the rough surface to find a switch. Sadly, there was nothing of the sort. They must’ve kept the switches in a control room or something.

I hit the wall with my fist in anger and major disapointment. That’s when the strangest thing happened. A few seconds after my punch was heard, another one sounded through the station, a bit louder than mine had been. I stood dead in my tracks and took a gulp before hesitantly turning around. I couldn’t see anything but the little red blinking light. It was the only thing still on, proving to me that I’d not lost my vision. I figured it must’ve been an echo from my punch or something and ignored it shaking my head.

I walked along the wall quickly to try and find a door to some place other than where I was. There was sure to be a switch in a storage closet. So, I followed the wall, tapping it every second to make sure I was still walking straight.

That’s when my knees hit something hard, probably a bench. I decided to sit down for a bit and calm down. There was nothing else to do and I didn’t know what to think anymore. Must have been about 3:45am by now. I tried to comfort myself thinking that the sun only came up in a little while. But then I realized I was underground so I wouldn’t even be able to see its light from where I was.

That thought was a total let down.

I sat there for a bit wondering what I would do, which would be the best course of action to take. I thought about it for a few seconds before a certain feeling tugged at my throat. It was as though I was being watched. Quite closely too. I was too afraid to move or even breathe. I hadn’t thought about it but, what if something really was down here with me in the dark?

I held my breath and looked around, still unable to see anything but the little blinking light. I couldn’t hear anything but the regular eeriness of the place. Other than that, everything seemed pretty quiet. But the feeling wouldn’t leave me alone. If anything, it was growing stronger by the second. I looked to my left, at the edge of my seat, leaning forward. The bench on my side was all shaky from my trembling. Then I realized it was strange that the other side of the bench wasn’t. So, I slowly looked to my right…

That’s when I saw it.

There is no other way for me to describe it than “Horrific”. And that isn’t even close to pin-pointing it well enough.It’s one of those things to take your breath away (and not in a good way) or make your heart stop beating right the second you lock eyes with it.

It was a pitch black silhouette. Darker than dark. As if it’d never seen the light. Even though we were already in the darkness, I could tell. That’s how I’d identify it. And that wasn’t the worst part. What made me paralyzed with fear… Those utterly mortifying eyes. They were a bright shade of yellow and wide open. Brighter than any car headlights, but small and perfectly round. They would hauntingly glow as it stared at me without making a peep or any movement what-so-ever. It wouldn’t even blink.

It couldn’t have been human. No doubt, it was something else entirely.

I tried to tell myself it wasn’t real. I tried to convince myself it was a reflection of some sort. But, what reflection? We were in the dark already. There was no source of light to reflect. A million questions swam across my mind in a single second. What did it want? Had it been watching me the whole time? Was it an animal? Why wasn’t it moving? etc.

I looked away in disbelief then as soon as I looked back, more afraid than ever, I found it had silently moved and was now about a heads length away from my own, still staring at me in complete silence. I jumped back and ran. I ran for my life ignoring everything around me. The sounds, the posts, the tracks, all of it. Nothing was important anymore. Nothing mattered but getting out of there alive.

As I ran I heard banging on the walls. As if something was trying to get my attention. But I wouldn’t dare look back. I located where I was by positioning myself in my mind, seeing where the red light was and making a mental path for the exit, which I could’ve done in the first place, just that it had only now occured to me.

I ran down the empty hall as the banging got louder and louder behind me, then slower and slower before suddenly ceasing. I was terrified. No other feeling. As I got closer to the exit, stumbling on the stairs, I heard a deathly shriek. So high-pitched and loud that I had to cover my ears to keep going. It got in my head and I can only say I’ll never forget it. That was proof to me that it was definitely “NOT human”. It sounded like a cross between a dying rabbit and a hawks screech. But it was much longer and somehow different.

I finally reached the surface after a few minutes as the sun began to rise. I cried with relief and fell to the ground exhausted. I was so happy to be out of there. I was safe. I didn’t feel like it would follow but I kept running anyway.

I never used subways again. And I never found out what that “thing” was. Nor do I ever want to.

I still think about it every now and then. It never left my mind. It was too real to be dismissed by my memory. It wasn’t a dream. And it was not a nightmare. It was a terror far worse and beyond that.

Even though it has been many years since then, I can still picture it. Its lifeless stare. I see its eyes when I close my own. And I feel its presence when I’m all alone. The feeling of emptiness and quiet. I can’t take it. I do many things today to try and forget that experience. But, I don’t think I ever really will.

Was it responsible for the lights switching off? What exactly were its intentions? How did it make that noise? …

I fear I may never get the answers to my questions. But at least, I can give you this advice. This warning. “Beware the Nightcrawler”.

That’s what I decided to call it after a while. I thought it deserved to be recognized and have a proper name (Not that it’s really all that proper). In any case that is what I picked.

It carries the stench of death. It stares blankly as would a lifless corpse. It stalks its prey, hiding in the shadows. The only source of light in its world of darkness, eyes of ghostly yellow. It never blinks. It always watches. It may even still watch me to this day.

And that thought, will truly haunt me forever.

Credit To – S.W.

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Creepy Bridge on Mumbai Expressway

July 30, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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To begin with, I am Ankit Saxena living in Mumbai, India. I have newly joined as a Consultant in Capgemini. I am kind of an atheist and don’t believe in any supernatural but these past few days, there have been some incidents which have shaken my belief, if not shattered it completely. And when I am sharing this on creepy-pasta, I am not putting a story, but a portion of my life, to have the answers which have eluded me, as I believe on this forum there are many people who have faced similar situations in their lives and can really help me out. Now I would like to share the incidents or rather some creepy incidents which occurred with me in these past few days.

I live alone in a 1-Room-Kitchen Apartment in a sub-urban area of New Mumbai, known as Koperkhairne, this area being very far from my Office, so we use Transport facility provided by the Organization for our smooth travel. It’s nearly an hour journey, which goes from crowded city roads to a long stretch of Expressway to my organization. On the stretch to Expressway there is a 200-300 mtr long bridge which is over a small stream of water which comes from the Gulf between Mumbai and New-Mumbai, this bridge end with a toll-booth and then the Western Express Highway.
We have our working hours fixed at nine and half hour every day. Failing to complete it, means a negative point against you in annual grading or appraisal as we call it. This incident is from some two weeks back on a Tuesday, I returned from a week holiday and I had lot of work. Normally I leave office at around 9:45, but that day I stayed back to complete my back-logs. Around 10:00, I was finished with most of my work, So out of boredom, I decided to go to a nearby mall (R-City) for dinner, thinking that I would be able to return for the next bus which is at 10:45. But unfortunately I was able to return around 10:50 and I could see the bus leaving in front of my eyes. I enquired and got to know that there is still a bus left which is at 11:15. I went inside to find, that the bus was already there and boarded it.

The bus took off at sharp 11:15, I was the only traveler, other person was the driver, there was a cool night breeze and I felt sleepy after a long day of work, so I dozed off. It was at around toll-booth when I got up, I looked at my watch which told me it was around 11:40. I rubbed my eyes and lean my head outside window to have the awesome view of the area from the bridge, with the town lights on one end and shining water from moon-light below. As we reached the middle of the bridge, I saw a laborer standing near a light-post, I could see that he was completely drenched, as we were closing on him, I could feel that the area was rather cold, maybe because of water body below. I felt sorry for the laborer to work in those harsh conditions. As the bus was passing him, and he was just parallel to me, he suddenly took his head up and looked at the bus, I felt something strange about him as his eyes meet mine, I can swear that I felt goose flesh going in my body, his face looked so devoid of expressions almost lifeless. I took my eyes down feeling sorry for him, as bus crossed some distance, I turned my head back to see him, but there was no-one standing there. I mean I could very well see the whole portion of the bridge from that point, but he was not there.

At that moment I knew that this was something different, I enquired to the driver and he reacted as if it’s a regular affair, He said in almost dismissive tone that, it was one of the ghosts, which people sometime see on this bridge. For the first time in my life, I had my heart in my mouth. He further told me that it is believed that some laborers died during the construction of this bridge, when an Iron beam fall on them while working below it during Monsoon season, some of them fell into the raging stream and their bodies were never found, the incident was hushed up, but since then some people have reported sighting of these laborers, including the Contractor who owned the contract of construction of that bridge, it is said that he was so terrified that he never returned back to the sight, even for the ceremony when the Bridge went operational. That night I had terrible nightmares all night long.

Now this incident is of this Wednesday, I was asked to sit late that day by my manager as UAT (User acceptance testing) is going on, and unfortunately I had to stay that day also till 11:15, I boarded the bus, but my heart was already pouncing. I saw one more traveler with me, which was kind of a relief, there was a heavy rainfall as this being the Monsoon season in India. I had kept in my mind that I will not look outside my window during that stretch of journey. At around 11:50, we were on the tollbooth, I was on the second seat, the other person was on the first seat and he was sleeping in-fact snoring. The driver stopped the bus after just crossing the tollbooth. I asked him, why he has stopped the bus.

He told me that he has to renew his monthly pass for this tollbooth, I insisted that he should do it next day, but he told me that at this time there is no rush, and next day he has an afternoon shift, when it will be heavily crowded. He took off from the ‘driver’ gate, bridge was just 5-6 meter from where, the bus was standing & it was still raining cats and dogs. I closed my window as well as my eyes while put on my earplugs listening to ‘Teri Galliyan’ a new hit song from a Bollywood movie to distract myself. It was not even a minute, when I felt that somebody was knocking, I pull out my ear plugs and saw a person standing below my window with his hand out, begging. I never wanted to open my window, because in back of my mind I knew he could be a ghost, but somehow I couldn’t stop myself from opening it. He was just staring at me with his hand out, I took a ten rupee note and said, “Take it quick, or the note will get wet”, but he didn’t took it.

At the same moment, I was shook by the other person from the first seat, he asked me who I was talking to and when I turned back there was no-one, I told him what I saw, he was scared too. The driver returned and I told him that what had happened, this time he replied with a serious look, and he said that he was not asking for money, but he was asking my hand, but he didn’t told me what he meant, I asked him many times, but he never told me the meaning of his statement.

Now I am frightened, as I have no idea, what it means, does this have happened to anyone else too, on that bridge. I am now frightened enough even when the bus crosses that place in daylight. If anybody has any experience or suggestions, what this meant, then I would be very grateful.

Credit To – Ankit Saxena

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Lorraine

July 29, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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I used to be an avid watcher of Youtube. I had subscribed to literally hundreds of channels and watched probably thousands of videos. I especially loved channels that featured spooky content. Short films, disturbing facts lists, scary story readings – you name it. I was hooked on that stuff, a real horror junkie. There was nothing I liked better than ending a long day of school or work curled up in front of my monitor, headphones cupped around my ears, watching an amateur Slenderman flick or learning about creepy videogame glitches.

One day, while browsing through the site, I happened to click on a certain video in my recommendations. Nothing particularly special about it – I was just kind of going down the line, and that one was up next. I could’ve easily skipped over it or watched it first. Anyway, the video was made by a Youtuber called loonylorraine713. In the video, Lorraine, a youngish woman with frizzy brown hair that hid more than half her face, did a basic outdoor vlog pertaining to some urban legend. She spoke with locals, trekked through daytime woods, and scouted out a small playground at night, all the while sporting a very playful, entertaining attitude very unlike the average horror host. Her editing wasn’t bad either, making the vlog seem more like a story than just a person talking to a camera. At the end, she had this cute outro where she made a sideways peace sign over her left eye and said, “Stay spooky!”

I knew I liked her immediately. I quickly subbed to Lorraine’s channel and started watching all of her videos. She mostly did solo mystery hunting stuff, but there were a few skits in there, a couple Edgar Allan Poe readings, update vlogs, etc. Each one ended with either her or a drawing of her making the peace sign over her eye and saying, “Stay spooky!” I became a big fan of her work, never failing to post a comment on a video or click the Like and Favorite buttons. I even had my phone send me text alerts when she uploaded a new video, I was that hooked.

Nearly six months of avid watching passed, and I started to think of Lorraine as a friend. Now, don’t get the wrong idea – this isn’t a story about how I became a stalker. I just mean that Lorraine and her content became a big part of my daily routine, something fun and exciting to look forward to when I got home. Bad day at work? I’d watch Lorraine carve a really bad Freddy Krueger pumpkin. Finished two hours worth of schoolwork? I’d listen to Lorraine read “The Raven” for the umpteenth time. Her videos were something that made me happy, and, at the time, I couldn’t thank her enough for that.

Sure, I wondered what it would be like to meet Lorraine, to actually talk to her and tell her how awesome she was, but I doubted that would ever happen. She never said where she lived in her videos, and she didn’t go to conventions or public events for signings or meetups. She didn’t even like to show her whole face on camera, one side of it always covered by her perpetually messy brown hair. I accepted this, though. I was content with being just a fan. As long as she kept making neat videos, I was perfectly happy.

Then things started to get strange.

At some point in Lorraine’s vlogs, I began to notice something in the background. What looked like a pair of orbs, flat, glowing a dull red. It was indistinct at first, hardly catching my attention at all, but, with each video, the orbs seemed to become clearer, to move closer and closer to Lorraine. By one video, they were right beside her head, though she didn’t seem to notice. I wasn’t the only one to see this – the comment section was often filled with others asking what the heck those things were. Lorraine replied to a few of those comments, saying that it was probably something wrong with her camera filter or a trick of the light.

This explanation made me suspicious. This girl thrived on conspiracies, urban legends, and the paranormal. The reaction I’d expected out of her was that they were the presence of some ghost or alien laser pointers or some other ridiculous, pseudo-paranoid idea. Why would she be so quick to disregard something that, for all intents and purposes, seemed even more real than any ghost she’d hunted or Bigfoot she’d chased?

And something else about the videos bothered me. As time passed, Lorraine’s content changed. She didn’t do as many legend hunting treks as she used to. Her readings seemed flatter and less involved. Even her vlogs, which pretty much became her primary content, seemed so different from just a couple months before – for example, one of the later videos consisted of her sitting in her office chair before the black sheet she had draped behind her for all her at-home vlogs, just staring off to the side, her hair-veiled face looking incredibly blank and sad. The orbs were also in this video, hovering just behind her head like red eyes peering down at her. When a full two minutes of silence had elapsed, she glanced up at the camera, made the peace sign over her eye, and said in a perfect monotone completely unlike her, “Stay spooky.”

I grew very concerned, as did the rest of the small fan base she had. People constantly asked in the comments if she was alright, if something was wrong, or if she was playing some joke on us. Lorraine never replied, never gave any indication as to what was happening. Even the descriptions of her videos were left blank.

Her uploads grew fewer and far between until, after probably three months of strange behavior, they stopped completely. No vlogs, no skits, no updates. More questions from viewers, myself included. Are you dead? What happened to your daily videos? Is everything okay? Not a single response.

Then one day, completely out of nowhere, all the videos on her channel disappeared. Each and every one of them – deleted. You could search the entire spectrum of the Internet and not find a single trace of them. The channel became an empty shell, with even the profile page and photo slot wiped clean.

I was caught between disappointment and concern. Lorraine and her videos were my escape, my home away from home, and to have them just… vanish the way they did broke my heart. I constantly wondered what happened to her, what made her change and drop off the face of the Earth like that. More than anything, I wondered if she was alright. Those weird orbs in the background of her videos kept coming back to me, filling me with unease. Something to do with them… but what? I had a dozen horror-inspired explanations for that, but I didn’t really believe any of them. Whatever happened with Lorraine was real, not some nightmare written on Reddit NoSleep.

So what could it have been then?

I got my answer when, after an entire month of inactivity, Lorraine finally posted a video.

I was shocked when my phone informed me of the new vlog. I think I even said something out loud like, “She’s alive!” Quickly, I found a quiet spot to sit, plugged in my headphones, and opened Youtube. The video was first up on my Subscriptions list, entitled simply, “Im Sorry.” I felt a wave of relief wash over me. So she was alright after all, coming back and apologizing for whatever happened with the old stuff. She didn’t have to be sorry; I was just glad she was back.

Smiling, I opened the video.

It was nothing like her normal vlogs, where she pops on screen with her arms spread wide and her wide grin partially covered by her hair. It cut straight to a very, very close shot of Lorraine’s face, the lens practically pressed against her chin, her camera phone the only source of light. Her breathing was very loud, obviously too close to the mic. It made me jump a little. She then pulled the camera away so that I could see her whole face and not much else. It was completely dark around her, though I thought I could make out bathtub tiles behind her when the light moved. Her face was half hidden as always, but her expression was jarring. She looked terrified, her brown eye wide, her jaw trembling, her skin white as cheese.

When she spoke, it was in a whisper so quiet that I had to turn my volume way up to hear it: “Heh… hey, guys. L-Loony Lorraine here. Uh. You’re… you’re probably wondering why… why I haven’t posted in a while, or… or why all my videos were deleted. Um, well… you see… things have gotten a… a little strange and, um…”

She paused to glance around herself, her camera dipping down to let me see her chest moving furiously up and down with her frantic breathing. A moment later, she readjusted the camera and resumed speaking.

“There’s… there’s not a whole lot that I can explain. I don’t have much time. But, uh… all you really need to know is that I, um… I fucked up. Yeah, I fucked up… big time.”

I blinked when she said this. If there was one thing I knew about Lorraine, it’s that she never, ever swore, not even when she got scared during a ghost hunt or haunted house run. This added to the feeling that something wasn’t right. I listened on as she nervously whispered to the camera.

“Um, I don’t know… when it happened or… or what I did exactly, but… I… God, this is going to sound crazy, but I need… I need to tell you. Uh. Do you guys remember my old ‘cheating death’ videos? The… ones where I play supposedly haunted games and creepy rituals? Well, uh, I think that, during one of them… I don’t know which… I think I… unleashed… something. Something very, very bad.”

Again, she paused to look around as if trying to spot something watching her in the close darkness. She swallowed and wiped her brow with her sleeve before continuing.

“I, um, didn’t really notice it until it was… was too late. I just started getting real… tired for a while. Like I had no energy, no drive. I thought I was just, uh… getting sick or something, but then it just got worse and worse week by week. Then the nightmares…God, those horrible… I fought sleep for weeks on end to avoid seeing those… awful images. I can’t even begin to describe them… I don’t want to. I can’t.”

A tear rolled down her cheek, and she wiped it away, sniffing hard. I was locked on the video, her pain seeming so real, her terror so genuine. Where was she? What was happening to her?

“By the time I, uh, realized what was going on,” she continued, “I’d stopped making videos. I barely left my house or… spoke with my family. I… had blank spells, I… lost time. I started seeing my nightmares when I wasn’t asleep… in broad daylight. I thought… I thought I was losing my mind.”

She paused to take a deep breath, the exhale coming out in a long shudder.

“Guys… do you remember those orbs? Those weird, red, floaty things that kept appearing in my videos?”

I felt a cold chill pass through me. I think I knew what she was going to say before she said it.

“I… lied to you. Not at first, but… towards the end, when I said I didn’t know what they were. You see… they’re not lens flares or specks of dust or whatever… They’re actually eyes. I know this because I’ve… seen the same eyes in my nightmares, attached to the face of something… too terrible for me to describe. When I finally realized this, that… whatever was haunting me… was actually real, I got scared. I took everything off my channel, deleted everything that had to do with me, thinking it might help, but… I think it only made it angry. So I packed a couple bags and left town. I’ve… been running for at least a month now.”

She closed her eyes and pursed her lips for a moment, looking almost childlike in her terror.

“The nightmares are non-stop now. I haven’t slept in a couple days, but… the eyes… and the images… Guys, I don’t know how long I have. I’m at a motel now, hiding in the bathroom… it’s in the room. It’s stronger now. I’m gonna wait it out until morning and… try to head out again, find another place to… to spend the night. But… I just wanted to make one last video before I did in case… well, in case.”

She looked at the camera, her eye bloodshot, her lips trembling with a soft smile.

“I, um, just wanted to say… I’m sorry for… letting you guys down. You supported me in all my weird adventures and stupid shenanigans… and I repay you like this. By making the biggest mistake of my life. I just… hope you guys can forgive me for… what I did and… what’s going to happen. I hope you’ll remember me… for who I was. I hope that… I made some of you out there… a little happier for a while.”

I had to cover my mouth to keep down the choked sob that wanted to get out. She sounded so scared, so helpless. I wanted to do something, wanted to help her, save her, but I didn’t know where she was or what was really happening. Demon, maniac, whatever – she was in trouble, but there was nothing I or anyone else could do.

Especially when, from the dimly-lit darkness, four little arms as black as ink started to reach out from behind Lorraine. They weren’t special effects; they weren’t props on strings; they were real, extending out from the shapes of small figures pressed against the tile, figures with red, orb-like eyes.

I started screaming at my phone, calling out for Lorraine, telling her to look out, to get out of there. Of course, she didn’t hear me. This was a prerecorded video. The young woman with her face half-veiled with hair only sniffed, made a peace sign over her left eye, and whispered, “Stay spooky,” as the hands wrapped around her face.

The sound of her scream, amplified by the volume increase, made me tear my headphones out and drop the phone. On the little screen, I saw her do the same, the view bouncing and blurring for a moment before the camera came to a stop propped slightly against the wall. In the faint phone light, I could see the edge of a white bathtub and Lorraine’s thrashing legs being pulled up into it. I could still hear muffled sounds coming from the dislodged headphones. Screaming, banging, and something else that made my skin absolutely crawl: a wet, meaty tearing that reminded me of a turkey leg being pulled off. Before long, something red began to drip down over the side of the tub and pool on the linoleum. Seconds after that, the screaming stopped, and all I could hear was that awful, gleeful tearing. Then the screen cut out, and the video ended.

It’s been about a month since all that happened.

They found her body about a week after “Im Sorry” was posted – one Lorraine McDermont, age twenty-five, resident of some small town in southern Wisconsin. She’d been staying at a motel about fifteen miles north of Chicago. A maid had stumbled upon her in the bathroom of one of the rooms and was quoted as saying, “I’d never seen so much blood in my life.” Her family was contacted immediately after the remains were identified. No clues as to what had killed her were ever found.

I never met Lorraine. I never spoke to her or contacted her in any way. But, seeing that video, leaning of her death, I felt like I had lost a good friend. She may not have known it, but she was important to me, important to a lot of people. She was a good person. She didn’t deserve to die like that. She didn’t deserve the torment that led up to it.

I made a page on Facebook in dedication to her. Some of her old subscribers liked the page, but there isn’t much I can do with it. About fifteen minutes after that last video was posted, Lorraine’s channel had been deleted for good. So, if you were thinking of finding it or that video after reading this, you’re out of luck. You can’t even find screen caps of her content. To this day, I don’t know who did it or why. People I’ve talked with online said that only a couple dozen people actually saw the video, and that there’s no copy of it anywhere on the Internet. Someone had even tried to call the police after seeing it, but no one could find the link afterwards. There was no way to explain what had really happened without sounding like some lying horror junkie. Hence the reason the case went cold.

There’s really not much more I or any of the others can do besides keep her memory alive on her page.

Maybe it’s better that way. Having her videos gone, especially that last one. I think about it often. If they hadn’t actually found her, I’m sure most people who saw it would’ve said it was faked. Even a diehard believer of the paranormal might’ve played the skeptic card. I remember the fear in Lorraine’s eyes, the tremors in her voice. That’s probably what clinched it for me and a lot of the others – you can’t fake a level of fear like that. And those… things behind her. I still can’t say what they were. Without the old videos, I can’t deduce which game or ritual she played caused them to… I guess “awaken” is the only suitable word. Did they disappear after they… got Lorraine? Are they still out there?

What exactly did she mean when she said she was sorry for “what’s going to happen”?

I don’t know, and, frankly, I don’t want to know. I’ve pretty much had it with the strange and unusual. I don’t even go on Youtube much anymore. It reminds me too much of a dead friend.

I think I might delete Lorraine’s page. I think I need a break from all the creepiness for a while. After all, it’s not helping that people keep talking about the eyes from her videos. They’ve been posting troll comments like how they’ve seen them in real life and how weird shadows appear in their pictures. Some have even talked about having nightmares. This is probably my fault because I wrote a few status updates about how I’ve been having really bad dreams lately. A little accidental suggestion on my part, I suppose.

Still, it’s disrespectful to her memory to keep this kind of talk going. So, yeah, I’ll delete it later today. I think Lorraine would understand. She wouldn’t want anyone to end up like her.

Anyway, I’ve said all I wanted to. And, I’m really tired. I think I’ll try and sleep. Hopefully, there won’t be any of those nightmares this time. I don’t think I can take another night without closing my eyes. I might go insane.

Credit To – MercuryCoatedVeins

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Stairs

July 28, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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My house is old. It’s by far the oldest house on our block. We tried to liven it up, to make it comfy, and and we did a pretty good job. We put colorful rugs on the freezing concrete, lamps in every corner. Every room was nice and modern-except the basement.

When I was a little kid, I would sprint up the stairs coming up from the basement. I don’t know what I was afraid of. Maybe a ghost, or a monster in the dark behind me, waiting for me to turn around so it can catch me and… I don’t know what it would do.

But now, as a seventeen year old boy, I’m walking up the stairs from my basement, and my childish fears, long repressed, are coming back. I tell myself to shut up, but that dark part in the back of my head tells me to run, to get out NOW. More than anything I want to rocket up those stairs as I did as a child, but I force my feet to take even, normal steps. I feel the overwhelming urge to look behind me, but I also want to win the battle of paranoia that’s going on in my brain.

So I slowly walk up the seemingly endless staircase, my palms sweating and my heart racing the entire way. But about ten steps from the top, I feel an ice cold hand close around my ankle.

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